Friday, June 23, 2000

Concrete company wins tax breaks


Monroe approves expansion deal

By David Eck
Enquirer Contributor

        MONROE — The city is working to make sure one of its largest companies stays put.

        City Council recently agreed to provide Baker Concrete Co. tax incentives on new property in connection with a proposed relocation and expansion in Monroe. The $6.3 million project would consolidate two of Baker's existing Monroe operations into the 166,000-square-foot former Voith Sulzer facility on North Main Street.

        Plans also include construction of a 30,000-square-foot industrial building on the Voith site.

        Council has approved a 100 percent, 10-year tax abatement on $2.6 million in new real property investment. Monroe also recommended to Butler County commissioners that they offer a 50 percent, 10-year tax abatement on a $3.7 million investment in personal property.

        “Given the nature of the company, we wanted to be aggressive to retain this project, so we did whatever we could,” said Jay Stewart, Monroe's development director. “We're very excited, and it's extremely important to retain businesses such as this. It's as important as attracting new businesses. And they're a good community partner.”

        A side benefit is that the deal would also fill a recently vacated large industrial space.

        One of the largest concrete contractors in the country with 3,500 employees, Baker has recently worked on Paul Brown Stadium, the Kentucky Speedway and Fort Washington Way, Mr. Stewart said.

        The company has about 200 employees in Monroe, where it is based, and has committed to creating 80 new full-time jobs in the city over the next three years. Baker's final decision on the project has not yet been made, Mr. Stewart said.

        “They said they were looking at other sites,” he said. “You have to take that for face value and assume that they are.”

        Company officials said they are still negotiating to buy the Voith Sulzer facility and hope to close on it in July.

        “There have been inquiries from some people in Indiana trying to lead us astray,” said Jeff Arnold, vice president of risk management for Baker. “Frankly we have our roots in that Miami/Oxford corridor.”

       



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